Herb Garden: the horseradish plant – Mother Earth News


Horseradish deters potato bugs when planted in the garden.



Horseradish is a favorite seasoning for seafood sauce.



Horseradish makes a hot cream sauce for meats.



An infusion of horseradish in milk restores color to the cheeks.



The horseradish plant has culinary, medicinal and cosmetic uses.

Illustration by MOTHER EARTH NEWS staff

Mother’s herb garden

The flavor of horseradish ( Armoracia rusticana ,
A.lapathifo lia , Cochlear
armoracia, C. rusticana, Rorippa armoracia, or Radicula
, depending on the botanical authority you
follow) is enough to bring tears to my eyes … and therefore, in
some cases are his growth habits. The plant – which
grows to about two feet in height and has a tall, elongated,
serrated leaves and wavy edges – is exceptionally prolific. Any
small piece of root left in the ground is capable of
develop rootlets and shoots, which means gardeners
who reap the harvest in the fall (leaving perhaps tiny
root tips in the soil) and then until the soil is
likely to find horseradish plants growing all over the
their gardens the following spring.

Of course, having a lot of horseradish isn’t quite a
bad thing, because-although he’s more famous as
condiment-the large perennial has many uses … culinary,
medicinal and even cosmetic. The first leaves of spring,
finely chopped and mixed with other green salads, or boiled
along with an assortment of other leafy vegetables, have a
interesting spicy flavor … too strong on its own but
stimulating when combined with softer greens. The root,
which should always be used raw and freshly grated, a
even been served as an aperitif, soaked in salt! But it’s
as the most famous condiment of horseradish, function
as a main ingredient in hot sauces for fish, meat,
poultry or vegetables. When served with beets, beef, boiled
chicken, boiled and smoked meats, and shellfish, its zest
is second to none. It also improves cocktail sauces, mustard
sauce and hollandaise.

Rich in vitamin C, the root was once used as a remedy
for scurvy. When mixed with vinegar, diluted with water,
and sweetened with glycerin, said to relieve whooping cough
cough in children. When used as a syrup or in a vinegar
solution, it promotes sweating and stimulates
nervous system, improving digestion and acting both as a
diuretic and a laxative. (You should be careful,
however: Excessive doses may cause diarrhea or overnight
perspiration.) The root screens, spread out on a cloth and applied
directly on the skin, also served as a dressing for
sciatica, gout and various joint pains; in a vinegar
solution, the herb can work as a good liniment. A
infusion of the root into milk is considered by some to be
good for the skin and to restore color to the cheeks, while
juice, mixed with white vinegar and applied to the
skin, is known to remove unwanted freckles.

The characteristic pungent smell of horseradish is created
only when the root is broken. The oil is strong and highly
diffusible: One drop can smell an entire room! When exposed
in the air, however, the root changes color and loses strength;
and if it is boiled, it becomes inert and inert.

Horseradish, best planted early for a good fall
culture, must be replanted every few years because its quality
deteriorates. Root cuttings, called “strips”, can be 6 to 7 inches in height
long and may or may not include a bud. Plant them 12 ″ -15 ″
deep and 12 ″ -18 ″ apart. Harvest the roots in the fall of
their third year, store them in damp sand or in the
refrigerator (where they will keep very well), and unless
you planted them well away from the rest of your
garden-hope you got all the pieces out of the ground.

Horseradish roots can be purchased in supermarkets or
obtained through most of the large seed companies.

Published on Sep 1, 1984

Terri S. Tomasini